ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Graphics Card Review

Today we’re going to look at another NVIDIA GTX 670 card; this time by ASUS – their GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP. While the name is long and a bit cumbersome, the card is sleek and fast. So grab a cold one, sit back and enjoy the show.

Specifications & Features

Getting the ‘boring’ stuff out of the way first, we have the specification list. As you can see from the base and boost clocks, this card isn’t messing around, with bumps over and above the reference clocks by 143 MHz and 157 MHz, respectively.

The DirectCU II TOP is a non-reference card with an upgraded power section, in addition to the much better (and quieter) cooler. It retains the standard 2GB of vRAM, which is clocked the same as reference models.

Specifications

ASUS GTX670 DirectCUII TOP Specifications

ASUS GTX670 DirectCUII TOP Specifications

Features

Features are going to be where this card separates itself from the reference cards (and even overclocked cards). First in ASUS’ list is the DirectCU II cooler. While 20% cooler is going to depend on many factors, the claim about being vastly quieter can’t be overstated.

DirectCU II
DirectCU II

20% Cooler and Vastly Quieter with exclusive DirectCU II thermal solution

GPU Tweak was first introduced with the 7970 cards and it has come into its own now. It works just as well as overclocker-favorite MSI Afterburner and has equally good monitoring capabilities.

GPU Tweak
GPU Tweak

GPU Tweak co-developed with the most authoritative GPU-Z to provide the most accurate information

DIGI+ VRM on this card is beefed up quite a bit more than the stock card, which had only five phases total; four for the GPU and one for the vRAM. In this card’s case, there are six phases for the GPU and two for the vRAM. They are also made of better components (Super Alloy), which ASUS claims give them a ”15% performance boost, 2.5 times longer lifespan [and] 35°C cooler operation”

DIGI+ VRM with 10-phase Super Alloy Power
DIGI+ VRM with 8-phase Super Alloy Power

Acclaimed DIGI+ VRM with 8-phase Super Alloy Power technology Delivers precise Digital Power and Enhance Durability for stable overlocking

I don’t know about “Gigantic”, but 2GB of memory is plenty to run games for most people. Lots of folks complained about that from the start, wishing it (and its big brother, the GTX 680) had more memory. There are typically claims about issues running high resolutions. We’ll have a look at how it runs three monitors later on. Let’s just say it isn’t really as big of a problem as some people think.

2GB GDDR5 Memory
Gigantic 2GB GDDR5 Memory

On-board memory for the best gaming experience & the best solution

The rest of the features aren’t ASUS-specific and apply to all GTX 670s. They are here for your perusal.

Powered by NVIDIA® GeForce GTX670
NVIDIA® GPU Boost
NVIDIA® GPU Boost

NVIDIA GPU Boost technology that dynamically maximizes clock speeds to push performance to new levels

NVIDIA® Adaptive V-Sync
NVIDIA® Adaptive V-Sync

NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync adjusts VSync to current frame rates for maximum playability

PhysX by NVIDIA
NVIDIA® PhysX® ready

Dynamic visual effects like blazing explosions, reactive debris, realistic water, and lifelike characters.

NVIDIA SLI Ready
SLI Support

Multi-GPU technology for extreme performance

NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready
NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ Surround Ready

Bring games to life with NVIDIA® Surround™ multi-monitor gaming on a single card

PCIE 3.0
PCIE 3.0

Delivers double the bandwidth per lane of PCIe Gen 2 for faster GPU – CPU communication

Here is the card at stock, showing its stock clocks as well as the GPU Tweak software. They seem to have done quite well with the software for this card, getting pretty close to a seamless solution as is their AISuite II is for their motherboards.

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP Stock

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Stock

What’s really impressive about this card is the stock boost. While rated at 1137 MHz, when running a benchmark, the card runs closer to 1300 MHz (peaking at 1293 MHz and hovering near there for the entirety) than it does to its rated 1137 MHz.

3DMark 11 Stock Boost

3DMark 11 Stock Boost

With those clocks consistently right out of the gate, you can tell this card is going to be a strong performer.

Packaging & Accessories

Before we get ahead of ourselves though, let’s have a look at what you get when you buy this card. The box is….interesting, appearing to have been slashed by some unknown and heretofore unnamed beast. Why they chose to do that is beyond me. Thankfully, it’s what’s inside the box that counts, not the graphic designer’s bad dream.

There is a box in the box that is much more simplistic, just saying “ASUS” and “Inspiring Innovation * Persistent Perfection”. Flipping the top on that, you see the accessory box. Once that is removed, we come to the card itself

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP Box

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Box

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP Box Rear

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Box Rear

Box in a Box

Box in a Box

Box in a Box in a Box

Box in a Box in a Box

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP

All of the card’s connectors are protected by blue plastic covers. There was actually an antistatic bag under the card, which presumably was around it at one point. The QC person must have just forgotten to put it back in the bag. It’s not necessary anyway with the covers over the connectors. We’ll look more closely at the card itself very shortly.

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP

The accessories stack is, well, by any definition paltry. Usually there is some semblance of an adapter or two for various monitor types. Not here. When you buy this card you’re paying for the card. All it comes with is a Speed Setup guide, driver disc (which you’ll want to promptly ignore and head to the ASUS and NVIDIA web sites to grab the latest GPU Tweak and driver) and a MOLEX-to-6-pin PCIe power adapter. That’s it. No video adapters, no included game…nada.

Accessories

Accessories

That’s actually acceptable though, because as you’ll see, the card you get is nothing less than stunning.

The ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP

Here is the main event. ASUS’ GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP coup de grâce. It truly is a thing of beauty. Built like it can withstand Armageddon, with great looks to boot. It even ships with a good looking backplate, which is more than can be said about some cards that require them to be purchased separately.

You know me and my penchant for a plethora of photos, so click through and enjoy the slide show.

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP Backplate

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Backplate

Not enough you say? Ok, twist my arm; one more.

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOP

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP

There are four video outputs on the card and I’m happy to report NVIDIA Surround works just fine. My chosen setup was both DVI ports and the HDMI port, which worked splendidly.

Video Connections

Video Connections

Port Configuration

Port Configuration

Now that you’ve seen its outer countenance, let’s have a look and see if it’s as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside.

Under the Hood

The cooler is easily removed via the four screws around the GPU. It’s a stout cooler, but hanging by the four screws won’t present a problem.

On the right of the card, you can see that the backplate actually makes contact via a thermal pad with the aluminum fins of the heatsink. That’s great – rather than relying on the plate itself to cool back-of-PCB components (vRAM), it actually uses the heatsink to assist. Kudos to the engineer that thought of that one.

Near there, you can also see that this card requires two 6-pin PCIe connectors for power.

Contact between the three-heatpipe cooler and the GPU is solid, with paste spreading uniformly. The paste appears to be your standard OEM paste, not bad but not great. It scrapes off more than wipes off.

DirectCU II Cooler Removed

DirectCU II Cooler Removed

Cooler Contact

Cooler Contact

GPU Contact

GPU Contact

While the memory power section (two phases in the photo above below the PCIe power connectors) doesn’t have – or really need – a dedicated heatsink, the GPU power section has one all to itself. It’s not a large heatsink, but it’s certainly better than not having one. The contact via the thermal pad is consistent throughout. Unlike the backplate, this heatsink does not physically touch the bigger GPU heatsink, but comes ever so close.

MOSFET Cooling

MOSFET Cooling

MOSFET Heatsink

MOSFET Heatsink

Tight Fit

Tight Fit

MOSFET Contact

MOSFET Contact

After quite a few screws, you can get the backplate off as well. It makes contact via a very thin thermal coating over the metal. As you can see, the GPU heatsink has three heatpipes for drawing the heat away from the GPU, going to a massive fin assembly.

The fins are cooled by two extremely quiet 92 mm fans. If you turn them up all the way manually, you can hear the fans. Even then, the two 92 mm fans aren’t as loud as a Yate Loon high speed fan (which cools my RAM / motherboard power sections).

Backplate

Backplate

Disassembled

Disassembled

Disassembled

Disassembled

There is memory on both sides of the card, with eight 256 MB chips totaling two gigabytes; four on each side of the card.

It’s hard to see from this angle, but ASUS added two LED lights to the card. These light up to let you know whether you have the PCIe power cords plugged in properly – a nifty feature. They are red when the card is powered solely by the PCIe slot and individually turn green when you plug the proper power cord in. You can see them better in the photo with the backplate on from above.

Card Front

Card Front

Card Rear

Card Rear

Now we get to a big deal about this card – the power section. It’s a big deal to ASUS and a big deal to overclockers. With ASUS’ DIGI+ VRM controller you have more control over the GPU power than on a reference card. There is still the unfortunately low 117% Power Target limit, but they do give you the ability to adjust the minimum GPU voltage.

Unfortunately, the default PowerTune limit is just too low to let you unleash all the power this card has to offer. Hopefully, there will be a software solution to help improve that. ASUS has expressed willingness to send us a special BIOS and we’ll post results in the comments after we get a chance to play with it. They have even given us permission to distribute it (with a written disclaimer of potential card damage of course). You’ve got to love that kind of support for the overclocking community!

Additionally, in talks with ASUS, they want to stress just how non-reference this card is. The power section has been designed from the ground up to deliver stronger, more consistent power to the GPU. There are six phases for the GPU instead of just four on the reference card.

Reference Power Comparison

Reference Power Comparison

In response to their customers, they have also gone with this power design to address an issue with GPU power delivery that plagues many reference cards on both sides of the aisle – choke whine. Their Super Alloy Choke fixes that problem. They also use better capacitors (Super Alloy Capacitors) that they report as having two and a half times longer life. Their MOSFETs are also upgraded and said to operate at lower temperature than their less expensive counterparts.

Super Alloy Power

Super Alloy Power

Lastly, ASUS mentions that this design has lower noise than reference cards. For stock operation that isn’t all that important, but when overclocking you need clean power. Increased noise leads to increased stability. The test in this slide was performed with an HD6970 DCII, but they share a similar power design.

Reference vs Super Alloy Noise

Reference vs Super Alloy Noise

 

Here is the power section in the flesh, complete with DIGI+ VRM controller. It’s a far cry from -and much better looking than- the reference power delivery section.

Power Section

Power Section

DIGI+ Power

DIGI+ Power

The memory is clocked the same Hynix 2nd gen GDDR5, 1.5V vRAM we saw on the EVGA GTX 670 Superclocked. As you surely figured out by now, the GPU is the GK104-based GTX670.

Hynix GDDR5 vRAM

Hynix GDDR5 vRAM

NVIDIA GTX670 GPU

NVIDIA GTX 670 GPU

Now that we’ve looked at the card in detail, let’s put this thing in a system and see how it performs!

Test Setup

This it the first review using our new GPU testing procedure and platform. Rather than repeat everything about the testing procedure and the tests, we can now just point you to our article that outlines all of that: Overclockers’ Updated Video Card Testing Procedure. The specific test setup used in this review is below.

Test Setup
CPU Intel i7 3770K @ 4.0 GHz
Motherboard ASUS Maximus V GENE
RAM 2×4 GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-2133 9-11-9-28
(Run at DDR3-1866, 9-9-9-24)
Graphics Card ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP
EVGA GTX 670 SC
AMD HD 6990
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro 800W
Operating System Windows 7 x64 SP1

That GPU list will continue to grow; we are retesting on the new platform as we’re able. Since MattNo5ss already compared the GTX 670 to other cards, the most pertinent comparison for this review was the EVGA GTX 670 SC. He was kind enough to jump on that and re-run everything on the new platform.

In addition, I was able to re-bench one card and went with the AMD HD 6990. In theory that’s not really a fair fight, but fans of the GTX 670 may just be pleasantly surprised.

ASUS GTX670 DirectCU II TOPTest Setup

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOPTest Setup

Before performance though, we’ll see cooler performance and power consumption.

Cooler Performance & Power Consumption

I mentioned the HD 6990 wasn’t a fair fight. In these two categories, it’s not a fair fight the other way around. Using the default fan profile, we’re running the GPU through 3DMark 11 and HWBot Heaven DX11 tests. 3DMark 11 is faster and doesn’t heat up the GPU as much. Heaven takes a long time and doesn’t let up.

DirectCU II Cooler Performance

DirectCU II Cooler Performance

The DirectCU II cooler did a great job, at idle and under intense loads. When you turn the fan up it does even better, and remains extremely quiet even at full blast.

Turning to power consumption, the GTX 670 just sips power, especially compared to the dual GPU beast. A solid 500 W PSU would be plenty for this GPU and an overclocked Ivy Bridge setup.

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

So far we have a cool running, efficient GPU. There certainly isn’t anything to be upset about! Let’s overclock this thing!

Overclocking

Overclocking the GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP was a breeze thanks to the GPU Tweak software. It has been refined and worked over such that it overclocks easily and to the max the card is able to produce.

GPU Tweak Software

GPU Tweak Software

My only complaint – and it’s a complaint about the entire GTX 6xx line – is that the Power Target can’t be increased over 117%. Let us unleash these beasts!

With that limit, this card overclocked a decent amount. The max stable GPU boost ended up at 1200 MHz, an increase of 63 MHz on the GPU. The vRAM ended up overclocking to 6380 MHz (which is really 1595 MHz, quad-pumped) on the vRAM.

Please excuse the CPU and RAM clock in the screenshot; I forgot to grab a screenshot with the CPU at proper testing speeds. As you can see, the GPU pretty much pegs the GPU at an impressive 1356 MHz while loaded. This is certainly a far cry from the stock boost clock.

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Overclocked

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Overclocked

Performance Results

Now we get to the fun part – performance results! We’ll start with synthetic tests and then get into some game testing.

Synthetic Tests

Starting with the older tests, we’ll knock out 3DMark03 and 3DMark Vantage. After all these years 03 still scales with GPU power and even with multiple GPUs, so we keep it in the test suite. Vantage Also scales well with GPU power and is a good measure for those still playing DirectX 10 games.

3DMark03 & 3DMark Vantage

3DMark03 & 3DMark Vantage

Straight out of the gates, the GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP (hereinafter DCUII) comes out on top of the EVGA GTX 670 SC (hereinafter SC). The DCUII even hangs with the HD 6990 in Vantage.

Now we’ll check out more recent DirectX 11 benchmarks.

3DMark 11 & HWBot Heaven Xtreme DX11

3DMark 11 & HWBot Heaven Xtreme DX11

Wow; if the games look like this, we’re in for a treat. Both of these benchmarks require a lot of GPU horsepower and the DCUII delivers bucket loads. Unbelievably (seriously, I re-tested because I didn’t believe it), it beat the HD 6990 in Heaven. Tessellation was a bad spot for that generation of AMD GPUs, and it’s evident in both of these tests.

Game Tests

Our first trifecta of games includes Aliens vs. Predator DirectX11, Batman: Arkham City & Battlefield 3.

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Bench, Batman: Arkham City & Battlefield 3

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Bench, Batman: Arkham City & Battlefield 3

AvP and BF3 both look great for the DCUII. In the ultra-intense Batman: Arkham City, the DCUII tears up the HD 6990. The Batman SC result is perplexing. Both MattNo5ss and I ran it multiple times, verifying every setting was the same across the board for both our test system and the game itself. By all other metrics the DCUII comes out on top.

For our last three games, we’ll test another pair of relatively high FPS games and then the GPU killer Metro: 2033.

Civilization V, Dirt 3, Metro 2033

Civilization V, Dirt 3, Metro 2033

The DCUII continues to impress, coming out on top in Civ V and Dirt 3. Only the HD 6990 beats the DCUII in Metro. The SC just can’t compete with the stronger clocks of the DCUII.s

NVIDIA Surround Testing

Now that you’ve seen how it performs in games, let’s see what you can expect when running three monitors!

NVIDIA Surround Testing

NVIDIA Surround Testing (Click to Enlarge and Clear Up)

It’s not surprising the HD 6990 wins in the majority of these benches with two GPUs and double the RAM. What IS surprising is Batman and Metro. Both of those are hell on a GPU, and both have a ton of visual detail – and the DCUII came out on top! In all of the other games, except AvP, the DCUII maintains a very small margin. For having a GPU that’s not the absolute top of the line, this card sure does hold its own even at high resolutions.

Which leads me to a happy conclusion – 2GB of memory is fine. Much to even my surprise, it didn’t hurt a bit as you can see. Now, it definitely should be said that none of these games are playable throughout at this resolution with everything turned up like this. Ok, maybe Dirt 3, but even that lagged a couple of times. However, I did play Metro 2033 with MSAA turned down and detail on “Normal” with three monitors. It looked great and had zero lag.

A single DCUII is perfectly capable of playing in NVIDIA Surround at 5760 x 1080, if you’re willing to make some minor graphics compromises.

Pushing the Envelope

Now for some benchmarking fun. The GPU didn’t want to go much farther, so these were run at the same clocks as 24/7 settings. The CPU and RAM were just pumped up to 5.0 GHz and DDR3-2400, respectively.

3DMark03 - 120072

3DMark03 - 120072

3DMark05 - 47357

3DMark05 - 47357

3DMark06 - 37383

3DMark06 - 37383

3DMark Vantage - 37053

3DMark Vantage - 37053

3DMark 11 - 10560

3DMark 11 - 10560

These scores are actually pretty great. With very little effort and only half-way decent clocks on the CPU, this card is among the top five GTX 670 results for all of these benchmarks on HWBot, except 3DMark 11, which really needs a Sandy Bridge-E chip for a boost (results referenced as of 6/7/2012). If you froze the CPU and came up with a way to increase the Power Target limit, this card has some real potential even just on air.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Wow. That was my reaction when graphing the results above. Not only did the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP beat the lower-clocked EVGA GTX 670 SC, it hung right in there with the dual-GPU monster HD 6990, even beating it occasionally – with even bigger surprises in Surround testing.

There is literally nothing to dislike about this card. It runs cool, it sips power, and it does both with extremely impressive results. Ok, if you’re hunting something to dislike, the name is excessively cumbersome. Aside from THAT, there is nothing to dislike. It looked our benchmark suite in the eyes, took it on with gusto, and came out begging for more.

The only thing left to discuss is pricing. Newegg lists the GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP at $429.99. That is only $30 over reference models and actually comes in under a Galaxy model. Out of the box, it is the highest clocked card on the egg. With the quality of this card’s engineering, its quiet -and effective- cooling solution, and its stellar performance it is well worth the price premium. Without a doubt, the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP deserves to be Overclockers Approved.

-Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)

Author’s note: Please see this post in the comment thread regarding some items ASUS brought up about a few items in the review.

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42 Comments:

MongGrel's Avatar
good lord I'm about drooling over that thing I wish I had two in SLI to replace my old 260 216's ")
MongGrel's Avatar
I guess even one for starters
xander89's Avatar
nice review mate. Pity the OC didnt go that high. ( a lot of people getting 1300mhz + on the core on the asus gigabyte and evga) ONe thing i would say is could you possibly put the resolutions/graphics settings on the graphs? ( or i might be missing something )
hokiealumnus's Avatar
In the Test Setup section, I linked to the Overclockers’ Updated Video Card Testing Procedure article, which outlines every setting used.

As far as the overclock, it actually ran at 1356MHz. The setting isn't that high because the boost takes it so far above its set frequency. You can't just look at the setting in GPUTweak, it's where the GPU actually runs that counts.
Metlcub's Avatar
I have the Asus GTX 570 DCII and love it. The fans are can hardly be heard and it stays so much cooler then a reference card. That 10-15c cooler will help keep everything else cool. I do like how they were able to go to a Dual slot with the 670 unlike the triple slot size of the 570. mmm I wonder if it's time to upgrade.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
It's a killer card for sure. Depends on whether you're happy with the GTX570 or not. If you're lagging a bit in newer games or want some more detail, this would be a great card to go to.
Creep-DK's Avatar
Awesome review Hokie, actually read it all, i rarely do as i usually skip to the results and graphs
....and damn thats one very impressive card
zitnik's Avatar
I want to upgrade, which is sad since I really don't need to. My SLI 570s will kick a single 680 right in the teeth, but I still thought about selling them for one (or even a 670). The only thing that bothers me is the 1.2GB of Vram, I'm worried that's going to be a crutch for me soon.
drydog's Avatar
Great review hokiealumnus
Brando's Avatar
It really is a quiet card. I can't hear it at all.
MongGrel's Avatar
I'd imagine it is quiet, I might have to make this my next purchase on an upgrade.

It looks very similar to an old 4870X2 GPU I had modified with an aftermarket (Artic Cool I think it was) aftermarket GPU cooler setup before I took it out and played around with it when I shouldn't have and killed the card :P

Sometimes you can play around too much I guess, I had that thing running perfect then took it out and tried putting different thermal compound on it and trashed the card *sigh*

illli's Avatar
so what ever happened to that custom bios?
hokiealumnus's Avatar
As of last week they were trying to test the card out and see if they could do it via software or if it required actual flashing of the BIOS. They're supposed to let me know when it's done and email it.
illli's Avatar
thats good news that it is still being worked on.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
After reading the review, ASUS shared some feedback and response to add some information and to discuss one item mentioned (the accessory stack). Please check it out below!

Re: The DirectCU II cooler - The fans on the cooler have a dust-proof design that keeps dust out of the bearing, leading to longer life. In the version of the reviewer's guide available prior to publication of our review, they didn't have anything on this but they've since updated it to include a couple slides explaining what they did.





They would also like to note that the backplate design was intended to stiffen the card as well as help cool the components on the back.

Re: Accessory Stack - They didn't include any adapters because the GPU already has full size connectors and they saw no reason to increase the cost of the card. While I appreciate that, some people still have VGA-connected monitors and a DVI-to-VGA adapter could be thrown in with no cost increase to the consumer.

Additionally, some people (*cough* me *cough*) have three DVI monitors. In order to take advantage of Surround, they'd have to purchase a DisplayPort to DVI or HDMI to DVI adapter. One of those may have added to the cost however; they're not as simple as a DVI-to-VGA adapter.

After bringing those points up, in the end they agree about VGA adapters to a point, and do include them with lower-end cards. However, they (rightly) assume the vast majority of people buying this level of GPU have a 1080p or higher monitor, which should have at least one of the on-card connectors available.

Re: DIGI+ and overall power design - One item they wanted to hilight was the greater effeciency of their power component selection. With improved efficiency, it helps the card stay within its power target more easily and give you higher clocks per watt drawn. The power section also runs cooler than less quality, reference components.



There are also SAP CAPs behind the GPU (as seen in this photograph, and the slide below, which was also added to the reviewer's guide after our review published). For multiple generations of cards, they have placed these capacitors in the best location for capacitance for GPUs - right behind the GPU. While it's the ideal location for strong capacitance, it's also the most difficult place to put a capacitor. It is worth it though, because it allows instant access for current, which gives more stable power delivery.



They also point out that other manufacturers have put caps close to the GPU in an attempt to obtain a look similar to ASUS, but they say it's all marketing hype because the other manufacturers don't put it in the proper location to deliver the capacitance as quickly as ASUS.

Re: GPU Tweak - Lastly, I didn't mention that there is built-in GPUz functionality right from the GPU tweak sofware.





Still no word on unlocked BIOS and/or software though. I'll keep you updated when that comes.
Brando's Avatar
Might want to wait a bit if you want one of these until they work out the bugs. Mine still blue screens under heavy stress (arkham city). The newest bios lowers the boost clock by about 100mhz which helped me play about an hour instead of only 15 minutes but that's not good enough. Maybe I'm just unlucky but if you google for problems with the card it seems to be widespread. I hope it's a driver problem but if it is then why does lowering the clocks make it more stable than before? I also noticed that arkham city ran badly in the ocforums review and hope it's just that game with a problem that can be patched. Gonna run metro 2033 at high settings when it's done downloading and see what happens.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
I've never had any blue screens despite playing hours in Metro2033 and BF3 in surround, FWIW.
Bobnova's Avatar
Omg you mean Asus puts Tantalum caps between VCC and GND right behind the core directly connected to those planes?! Like, exactly the way every other manufacturer does!?
Whoa.

I hate most marketing departments, but Asus is really outdoing themselves this time.
Brando's Avatar
Can you try arkham city with high settings in dx11 mode with physx and see what happens? I'm genuinely curious if this game just has issues or what. Still downloading metro 2033. If I can run metro on high I won't be sure what to think. Crossing my fingers on this one because amazon is out of this card and can't do a replacement. All they can do is give me my money back after I pay to ship it back then go awhile without gaming until it comes back in stock somewhere where I get to pay shipping again as well as (probably) a higher price with CA tax if it's from newegg.
Brando's Avatar
Metro crashes after awhile too. Afraid she's going back
Brando's Avatar
I talked to asus today and the guy said I should try the driver off of their website instead of the one from nvidia. They're both version 301.42 so not sure what that's about but the one on the asus site is a bigger download?
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Not sure either. I'm using the one from NVIDIA's site, but admittedly I'm not sure which version it is and am not near that PC.
illli's Avatar
yep, if you have a top then it is hit or miss whether or not you get a good card. have you tried running heaven benchmark loops? if you get crashes there at stock, then i would rma it. especially if you still have issues after the bios update. the fact that they needed to submit a bios update at all seems like a glaring fault that they did not test the tops sufficiently enough. on a side note, my top seems to be issue free but i can only get to 1250 however. yet considering all the problems plaguing this model i consider myself 'lucky' :P
xander89's Avatar
this is the kinda thing i was talking about ED i seem to have seen a lot of complaints like this ( just browsing through forums,). I dont think its exclusive to asus cards but there seems to be more problems than most.
illli's Avatar
yeah. i've read some issues with other brands, but somewhat infrequent compared to the top. my guess is asus was too aggressive in their clock setting or they didnt go enough testing of the top cards. either way, a driver wont fix the issue. the bios update -might- fix the issue, but some cards are just plain duds.

steps i would probably take to find out:
-run heaven benchmark at stock card settings. if at stock it can run 30+ minutes or so, then probably stock is 'ok'.
-if it crashes at stock: update the bios. run heaven again.
-if it still crashes after bios update, send it back for a new one.
this http://www.overclock.net/t/1265110/t...g-master-guide is a pretty good guide to follow in explaining how to set up your card for testing.
Brando's Avatar
It's kind of funny with these cards and I can see how a lot of them would make it through QC. You would think half an hour would be enough but even with the bios update I could play about an hour before the crash. It's really weird and may be something about the 670 that they haven't seen before with other chips. I'm not that surprised since this is their first attempt with the new process. Until now I would have thought 20 min in a stress test would be a good indicator but it takes awhile.
illli's Avatar
before i read the experiences of others on other forums i probably would have said that it partially could be blamed on the buyers trying to overclock too high. the tops are already overclocked by asus, and supposedly validated by asus to run at that speed. however, i've read more than a few people that had their cards unstable at even the stock speed set by asus. so to me that says their validation process to determine if the chip can be called a 'top' is probably the problem.

as far as the 670 chip itself.. it is a flawed 680 that had too many flaws to be used as a 680. maybe those flaws effect the 670 in other ways unexpected by companies like asus etc. one thing is for sure, no two 670s are alike. its really random what kind of results a person will get or how successful their o/c will be.
xander89's Avatar
agreed. I dont know exactly what the process for using binned 680s was, but as it stands some get lucky some dont. Mine is a freeking beast but them some havent even been able to clock more than a couple of mhz over stock. It might end up with the golden 670's selling for a fair amount.
txus.palacios's Avatar
If it wasn't because of this, saying that something is marketing hype while they're doing the same thing as you are doing, that'd be a point on ASUS side.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Hah...yea, that's sort of my line of thinking too. FWIW, they did give photo examples of 'other manufacturer' implementations. They didn't specify which, but they say ASUS' location (right behind the GPU) is more effective than others....which they claim are all marketing hype, because their locations don't lend themselves to actual performance increases like ASUS' does.





Not saying I agree; I frankly don't know enough about it to know if it makes that much of a difference, just saying what ASUS wanted to relay as part of their response to our review.
Bobnova's Avatar
My 580, like all reference 580s has four caps back there
wagex's Avatar
i might just be going to the green side this or next year
xander89's Avatar

tbh i think backplates should come as standard, mine seems to have helped a fair amount!
crazyflow's Avatar
What is your video card score in 3dmark 11? Just curious to see your score with your overclock
xander89's Avatar
around 10850/80 havent broken 10900 yet
Audioaficionado's Avatar
My daughter's card finally fried because she let it pack up with dirt. Good to know they are implementing the anti dust feature.
illli's Avatar
still no news on the custom bios?
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Unfortunately not. I'll email him again now. Thanks for the reminder!

EDIT - Email sent.
illli's Avatar
by this point i'm inclined to believe there wont ever be a custom bios
Bobnova's Avatar
There won't be one. Nvidia will not allow it.
They're strongly opposed to overclocking these days for some reason.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
I actually had occasion to talk to ASUS last night on a different card but did remember and ask about this. It does seem to exist, somewhere...but they are still 'in talks' with NVIDIA to actually release the thing.

FWIW, this isn't ASUS' fault. Blame NVIDIA for locking down their AIB partners from implementing such things, even on boards they develop. IMHO, the partners bought GPU silicon from NVIDIA then designed their own very much non-reference card around it; thus they should be able to to whatever the heck they want to with the vBIOS & software. NVIDIA disagrees, so much so that partners are reluctant to just do it.
EarthDog's Avatar
I can mirror the statement above as other AIB's share the same story... Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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